Vegetarianism In Mahatma Gandhi

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The quote above illustrates the importance of vegetarianism to one of the most influential activists of the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi. This paper asks the question is it possible for a person, like Gandhi, to become enlightened from a vegetarian lifestyle? Ever since Gandhi was a child, vegetarianism was a tradition that was deeply rooted. Gandhi’s parents continually urged him to refrain from eating meat in his earlier years and throughout his life, he stuck to a vegetarian diet. Even when Gandhi left India for law school in England, he promised his mother he would remain a vegetarian. However, in a more western environment like England, the idea of vegetarianism was quite farfetch, and only few people openly practiced it. Gandhi was resolute…show more content…
This society derived their ideas from the Indian diet. Their interests represented a fascination for the Hindu diet. For example, they were fascinated by the idea that “Indian soldiers fought perfectly well on a diet of lentil and beans” and even more importantly, the fact that Hindus showed “tender care show to dying or sick animals”, rather than killing them and eating them (Guha, Experiments with Eating). Members of the society and Gandhi argued that vegetarianism showed a general “respect for all of God’s creations” (Guha, Experiments with Eating). Like Gandhi’s diet, a majority of his ideas expressed universal respect for all living organisms. Gandhi always practiced what he preached and many considered him to be man that “harbored no ill-will or hatred toward anyone but only love and forgiveness for all” (Majmudar, 2). For Gandhi, moral respect for everything in the world meant that he would be able to reach enlightenment of the soul. One of Gandhi’s major ideas on reaching personal enlightenment was the psychological ideology of Swabhava which “denotes the unique, unrepeatable, constitution of every individual as a microcosm” in a unified universe (Agha-Kazem-Shirazi, Self In Integral Psychology). Swabhava is a term for a moral constitution, where a person internally derives their own…show more content…
One situation between Gandhi and an English doctor demonstrated how others tried to negatively influence Gandhi. As Gandhi wrote in his autobiography, according to the doctor it was essential for anyone “in the cold climate of England (to consume) beef or mutton” in hopes of staying healthy (Guha, Experiments with Eating). Of course, Gandhi debated with the doctor for a while until the doctor ultimately stated that he had to eat meat or he would die. To this Gandhi stated, “ 'if it were God 's will that I should die, I must die” but he was not going to break his solemn vow of being a vegetarian (Guha, Experiments with Eating). This incident showed Gandhi’s hard-pressed stance of standing for civil resistance that he would later preach. At the beginning of his stint in England, his vegetarian ways created a “social clumsiness” that blocked him from attaining his goal to “become an English gentleman” (Sharma, 32-33). His social awkwardness, for example, made him a lawyer that was “too shy to open his mouth” but eventually he found the important part of life was to not “seek learned advice for interpretation” (Parkeh, 4 & Sharma, 34). Essentially, the difference between these two situations show how golden rule of sticking his diet, an integral part of his character, actually kept him
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